Another totally brutal week. Let’s see if we can lift the mood a little.
HURRAY! My friend, David Cantero, and I made it.
Just in time for the holiday giving 2012!
A very extra-ordinary old woman with magical powers wants to share her very extra-ordinary gifts with her very ordinary neighbors.
The very ordinary village, full of very ordinary people doing very ordinary things, is soon to become a very extra-ordinary place indeed. But first the wise old woman with magical powers must discover a way to visit her neighbors without them knowing it is she.
Joy and laughter, music and dancing all make life very extra-ordinary
Click on the book cover below to purchase.
A Very Extra-Ordinary Place marks our first collaboration. It is a delightful and beautifully illustrated children’s book.
For more information about the story, sample pages and where to buy look HERE!
By James Michael Dorsey
Not all cultures believe in burying the dead in the ground. Here are 10 unique ceremonies from around the world.
THE MODERN DICTIONARY defines the word ‘burial’ as placing a body in the ground.
But burying the deceased was not always the case.
Just as primitive man has long worshiped the four elements of Earth, Sky, Water, and Fire, so too have these elements taken their place in burial practices as diverse as the different tribes of the earth.
The way mankind deals with its dead says a great deal about those left to carry on. Burial practices are windows to a culture that speak volumes about how it lives.
As we are told in Genesis, man comes from dust, and returns to it. We have found many different ways to return. Here are 10 that I found particularly fascinating:
Air Sacrifice – Mongolia
Lamas direct the entire ceremony, with their number determined by the social standing of the deceased. They decide the direction the entourage will travel with the body, to the specific day and time the ceremony can happen.
Mongolians believe in the return of the soul. Therefore the lamas pray and offer food to keep evil spirits away and to protect the remaining family. They also place blue stones in the dead persons bed to prevent evil spirits from entering it.
No one but a lama is allowed to touch the corpse, and a white silk veil is placed over the face. The naked body is flanked by men on the right side of the yurt while women are placed on the left. Both have their respective right or left hand placed under their heads, and are situated in the fetal position.
The family burns incense and leaves food out to feed all visiting spirits. When time comes to remove the body, it must be passed through a window or a hole cut in the wall to prevent evil from slipping in while the door is open.
The body is taken away from the village and laid on the open ground. A stone outline is placed around it, and then the village dogs that have been penned up and not fed for days are released to consume the remains. What is left goes to the local predators.
The stone outline remains as a reminder of the person.Â If any step of the ceremony is left out, no matter how trivial, bad karma is believed to ensue.
Sky Burial – Tibet
To the western mind, this may seem barbaric, as it did to the Chinese who outlawed the practice after taking control of the country in the 1950s. But in Buddhist Tibet, it makes perfect sense. The ceremony represents the perfect Buddhist act, known as Jhator. The worthless body provides sustenance to the birds of prey that are the primary consumers of its flesh.
To a Buddhist, the body is but an empty shell, worthless after the spirit has departed. Most of the country is surrounded by snowy peaks, and the ground is too solid for traditional earth internment. Likewise, being mostly above the tree line, there is not enough fuel for cremation.
Pit Burial – Pacific Northwest Haida
Their flesh was left to the animals. But if one was a chief, shaman, or warrior, things were quite different.
The body was crushed with clubs until it fit into a small wooden box about the size of a piece of modern luggage. It was then fitted atop a totem pole in front of the longhouse of the man’s tribe where the various icons of the totem acted as guardians for the spirits’ journey to the next world.
Written history left to us by the first missionaries to the area all speak of an unbelievable stench at most of these villages. Today, this practice is outlawed.
Viking Burial – Scandinavia
While very dramatic, burning a ship is quite expensive, and not very practical.
What we do know is most Vikings, being a sea faring people, were interred in large graves dug in the shape of a ship and lined with rocks.Â The person’s belongings and food were placed beside them. Men took their weapons to the next world, while women were laid to rest wearing their finest jewelry and accessories.
If the deceased was a nobleman or great warrior, his woman was passed from man to man in his tribe, who all made love to her (some would say raped) before strangling her, and placing her next to the body of her man. Thankfully this practice is now, for the most part, extinct.
Fire Burial – Bali
Lanterns line the path to the persons hut to let people know he or she has passed, and act as a reminder of their life so they are not forgotten.
It is then interred in a mass grave with others from the same village who have passed on until it is deemed there are a sufficient number of bodies to hold a cremation.
The bodies are unearthed, cleaned, and stacked on an elaborate float, gloriously decorated by the entire village and adorned with flowers. The float is paraded through the village to the central square where it is consumed by flames, and marks the beginning of a massive feast to honor and remember the dead.
Spirit Offerings – Southeast Asia
The Vietnamese leave thick wads of counterfeit money under rocks on these monuments so the deceased can buy whatever they need on their way to the next life
In Cambodia and Thailand, wooden “spirit houses” sit in front of almost every hut from the poorest to the most elaborate estate. These are places where food and drink are left periodically for the souls of departed relatives to refuel when necessary. The offerings of both countries also ask the spirits of the relatives to watch over the lands and the families left behind.
Predator Burial – Maasai Tribe
It is a term that encompasses the earth, sky, and all that dwells below. It is a difficult concept for western minds that are more used to traditional religious beliefs than those of so-called primitive cultures.
Actual burial is reserved for chiefs as a sign of respect, while the common people are simply left outdoors for predators to dispose of, since Maasai believe dead bodies are harmful to the earth. To them when you are dead, you are simply gone. There is no after life.
Skull Burial – Kiribati
On the tiny island of Kiribati the deceased is laid out in their house for no less than three days and as long as twelve, depending on their status in the community. Friends and relatives make a pudding from the root of a local plant as an offering.
Several months after internment the body is exhumed and the skull removed, oiled, polished, and offered tobacco and food. After the remainder of the body is re-interred, traditional islanders keep the skull on a shelf in their home and believe the native god Nakaa welcomes the dead person’s spirit in the northern end of the islands.
Cave Burial – Hawaii
In the Hawaiian Islands, a traditional burial takes place in a cave where the body is bent into a fetal position with hands and feet tied to keep it that way, then covered with a tapa cloth made from the bark of a mulberry bush.
Sometimes the internal organs are removed and the cavity filled with salt to preserve it. The bones are considered sacred and believed to have diving power.
Many caves in Hawaii still contain these skeletons, particularly along the coast of Maui.
The open sea
By international law, the captain of any ship, regardless of size or nationality has the authority to conduct an official burial service at sea.
The traditional burial shroud is a burlap bag, being cheap and plentiful, and long in use to carry cargo. The deceased is sewn inside and is weighted with rocks or other heavy debris to keep it from floating.
If available, the flag of their nation covers the bag while a service is conducted on deck. The body is then slid from under the flag, and deposited in Davy Jones locker.
In olden days, the British navy mandated that the final stitch in the bag had to go through the deceased person’s lip, just to make sure they really were dead. (If they were still alive, having a needle passed through their skin would revive them).
It is quite possible that sea burial has been the main form of burial across the earth since before recorded history.
The Final Frontier
Perhaps this is the ultimate burial ceremony, or maybe the beginning of a whole new era in which man continues to find new and innovative ways to invoke spirits and provide a safe passage to whatever awaits us at the end of this life.
Any other death ceremonies you’ve encountered? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Complete Article HERE!
I Want To Be Buried With My Mobile Phone
by Michael Ashby
I want to be buried with my mobile phone
So I can ring in the changes at my new home
With central heating and a marble en-suite
And lots of thermal socks for my poor cold feet
I’ll be able to give in to a takeaway
And watch favourite movies on a rainy day
And if I’m feeling a bit under the weather
I’ll talk to you until I begin to feel better
I’ve got party hats, fairy cakes and songs to sing
In case somebody should chance to drop in
Which is much more likely than you’d think
As my coffin roof is on the blink
I’ll be leaving you now as I’ve got a waiting call
It’s from my new friend over by the cemetery wall
I watched the service yesterday through my periscope
They buried him with his mobile, their little joke
But he’ll have the last laugh, when his bill drops through their door
Fourteen hundred and forty minutes a day, for eternity and evermore
By Dr. Andrew Ordon
As doctors, we are taught that death is the enemy. We are here to stop it and if a patient dies, we have failed. That mentality has led to an alarming statistic. According to one study, 60 percent of your health care dollar is spent in the last 30 days of life. Wouldn’t those resources be better spent on prevention and defeating curable diseases earlier in life? Why do we try so hard at the very end? One reason is that we think we can defeat the disease and gift the patient with more time. But there are times when that is not a reality.
One obvious example is the terminally ill. People with Stage 4 cancer. That means they have a cancer which has spread from the local area to a distant location. Cancer starts out in one place, and if it is isolated there, it’s called Stage I. If it erupts from its local area but has not spread to lymph nodes it is Stage 2. If it has spread to nodes but has not spread beyond the region of origin, it is Stage 3. If it has traveled by lymph or through the blood stream to a distant organ, that’s Stage 4, which is as bad as it gets. This is when doctors tell you how long they think you have left.
In a study published in November in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1,231 patients with Stage 4 lung cancer were evaluated for their End of Life (EOL) experiences. They considered “aggressive” care to be things such as receiving chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life, ICU stays in the final 30 days and an acute-care hospital stay in their last 30 days.
Researchers found that patients who had EOL discussions before the final 30 days were more likely to receive appropriate hospice care than those who did not have EOL discussions.
The authors wrote: “Given the many arguments for less aggressive EOL care, earlier discussions have the potential to change the way EOL care is delivered for patients with advanced cancer and help to assure that care is consistent with patients’ preferences.”
I have overseen the hospice care of a relative and can tell you firsthand that it is far better than having no plan in place. Hospice nurses and doctors treat the family as much as the patient. But arranging for hospice care sounds a bit like giving up. It isn’t. It’s acceptance of the reality that we all make this journey. Hospice care is merciful and compassionate.
The time to discuss end-of-life care is before the end is near. It is possible to die well.
Complete Article HERE!
We haven’t had an edition of our Cemetery Art exhibition in several weeks. No time like the present to remedy that.